Is faith irrational or non-rational?

For intuitive and critical discussions, from spirituality to theological doctrines. Fair warning: because the subject matter is personal, moderation is strict.

Moderator: Dan~

Is faith irrational or non-rational?

Postby smithigans wake » Fri Jul 04, 2003 10:08 pm

The argument has been made that since logic, reason, observation etc. are the only tools with which humans can understand the world, then faith--a denial of these rational tools--is irrational and therefore fundamentally flawed.

On the other hand, it seems as though faith, being fundamentally different from all the normal things we like to call rational, logical etc cannot possibly be justified by those things. So it has been said that instead of being irrational, faith is in fact non-rational. Kierkegaard, I think, would say something like this.

I think that faith might not be something that can be discussed, with any profit, within the bounds of rational discourse. I've read CS Lewis on the one hand, and Bertrand Russell on the other, and neither, I feel, is very convincing in proving or disproving faith since it is not the sort of thing that can be proven or disproven by rational means.

I guess the ultimate question lies in whether or not we are justified in trusting the rational framework of our reality. Can we even comprehend anything without first subjecting it to our rational minds?
smithigans wake
 
Posts: 31
Joined: Fri Jul 04, 2003 12:21 am
Location: Athens, GA

Postby kesh » Sat Jul 05, 2003 7:37 am

I would say insofar as non-rational can be ascribed; its almost a turning away
from the interpretation of the rational world. I process everything through the mind but i never quite get a true representation of the real world in-its real atomised form: but i know the senses are "doubtful", so the representations are given a sense sometimes of something else, something i cant sense, something irrational. Then there makes it possible for something out of my rational mind, that faith lead's to postulating in this irrational interesting possibility, that something else is there that i cant sense-something immaterial; its this immaterial, spirit that is the idea of non-rational but yes it must come from the rational mind. Unless the rational mind itself doesnt exist. Or perhap's the non-rational exist's in the mind but reason, logic and concepts exist only in the rational.

Really i havent came close to anything there at all, i was just writing and cant get near the non-rational problem though i did initially have a good idea. :-?
kesh
BANNED
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2003 6:18 am

Postby theoryofexist » Sat Jul 05, 2003 6:10 pm

Kesh, I think that is mostly because you forgot to breathe. I took a philosophy class and the professor said rationality is thinking from the neck up, while "mindfulllness" comes from breathing. Now I have personally thought deeply about "mindfullness" only to realize that it itself is a ratherly elusive and hard to define thing, but I could say that you will have a much better chance experiencing god and spirituality and maybe defining and describing what you have experienced, by being mindfull rather than rational.
theoryofexist
 
Posts: 140
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2003 6:40 pm

Postby TTM » Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:39 am

'ello all,

The argument has been made that since logic, reason, observation etc. are the only tools with which humans can understand the world, then faith--a denial of these rational tools--is irrational and therefore fundamentally flawed.


In my opinion, reason alone is insufficient when it comes to living in reality. I do greatly value my reasoning capabilities, and I also think it is an essential component when it comes to having any form of faith (faith without reason is a "blind" one). However, I believe that intuition also plays a major role in understanding the world around us. I believe that the two, reason and intuition, are the key to a balanced approach to any subject, including religious faith.

So, based on the idea I presented above, I would say that it is only "non-rational" to the degree that it goes beyond what we can rationally conceive, rather than being *against* our rational understanding (if it is, the chances are, that belief is very wrong, or the understanding is flawed).

The important realize is that, based on the Existentialist, self-centric idea, nothing can be entirely proved at all. Not religious claims, not atheistic claims, nothing. Faith, therefore, is exactly what it says it is - placing your trust in some concepts you can not completely understand or prove.

I myself am (officially since last Easter) a Catholic (which is important in terms of doctrines) Christian, and I do not claim to know that God exists (although I do believe it), but I choose to be "non-rational" (my definition) by partly relying on my intuition. I have not yet found anything that is against reason in any of the Catholic doctrines, and I find them solid and very reasonable, more positive and constructive than any other belief systems I've explored elsewhere. This is augmented by my own experiences (surprisingly, it has indeed changed me dramatically - more than I expected through some sort of placebo effect) and witnessing of (as well as reading about) some events which are otherwise (atheistically) inexplicable.

In the end, faith comes down to a choice. If the Christian God does indeed exist, he obviously does not want to *prove* his existence on the basis that we should choose him out of our own "freewill". As far as I've observed, there's always enough evidence to support your belief or disbelief. However, I do believe that an average Christian would live a life more fulfilled than that of an average atheist (for worldly fortunes are not where you find happiness, but it is in the invisible things).

Out,
TTM
TTM
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 8:08 am

Postby kesh » Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:37 pm

TTM
I myself am (officially since last Easter) a Catholic (which is important in terms of doctrines) Christian, and I do not claim to know that God exists (although I do believe it), but I choose to be "non-rational" (my definition) by partly relying on my intuition.


What gives you faith?

The realisation that the dogmatic facts christianity stated, have now been proven wrong. So what gives you faith in the christian "god" if any "god". Resently ive seen that infact im my own deity: basically my "ego" needs me to be eternal and a god-so i can live forever. Then reason gives me faith as everything is doubtful. Perhaps im only the only person in the universe?
kesh
BANNED
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2003 6:18 am

Postby Metavoid » Sun Jul 06, 2003 9:46 pm

Faith is irrational, it appeals to emotion and not reason. If we look at how many people become religious in times of emotional trauma (eg after bereavement) we see alot of people choosing it for these reasons. I don't think many people have sat down and thought about things and came to the conclusion that there is a god or the existence of this deity has any relevance to our existence.
"I don't necessarily agree with everything I think."
Metavoid
Thinker
 
Posts: 576
Joined: Sat May 03, 2003 7:24 pm
Location: UK

Postby kesh » Sun Jul 06, 2003 10:24 pm

This website is brilliant. There are many great thinkers here. Anyways..... :roll: (that emoticon is class) :wink: :evilfun: :cry: :evil: :oops: :P :-? 8) :lol: :x :o :( :) :D it had to be done.
kesh
BANNED
 
Posts: 690
Joined: Sat Jul 05, 2003 6:18 am

Postby TTM » Sun Jul 06, 2003 11:52 pm

What gives you faith?


First of all, it was a philosophical decision which finally gave me a satisfactory reason to become a Christian. The self-serving, ego-centric nature of the popular culture, I realized, only lead us all toward unhappiness and destruction. I wanted to make a difference, starting with myself. Also, there are some convincing evidence and hints for Christianity.

Of course, many Christians have a skewed view of their beliefs also.

The realisation that the dogmatic facts christianity stated, have now been proven wrong.


I can't quite make sense out of this sentence, but I would guess that you're pointing to dogmatic errors in Christianity? Perhaps if you could give us examples, it would serve all of us.

So what gives you faith in the christian "god" if any "god".


The Christian God makes the most sense to me, when put into context. There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the nature of the Christian God, as he is perhaps the most difficult to comprehend.

Resently ive seen that infact im my own deity: basically my "ego" needs me to be eternal and a god-so i can live forever. Then reason gives me faith as everything is doubtful. Perhaps im only the only person in the universe?


With regard to faith, reason alone can not support it, by its very nature. Faith is a trust you place in something you can never fully know. Restricting your belief in this way and ignoring the other facilities we also posses (intuition, for example) is, in my view, silly.
TTM
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 8:08 am

Postby TTM » Mon Jul 07, 2003 12:12 am

Metavoid wrote:Faith is irrational, it appeals to emotion and not reason. If we look at how many people become religious in times of emotional trauma (eg after bereavement) we see alot of people choosing it for these reasons. I don't think many people have sat down and thought about things and came to the conclusion that there is a god or the existence of this deity has any relevance to our existence.


I would agree that many people turn to "spirituality" and religions in times of trauma. However, if God does indeed exist, times like this can be "hints" for us to turn back to him. It would be true to say that we get caught up in everyday activities to the extent that we rarely reasess the important things in life. Afterall, didn't Einstein say "science without religion is lame; Religion without science is blind"? We need to keep a balance between our rational and the "irrational" self. Denying the existence of the other would do a lot of harm to the average person, in my opinion.

TTM
TTM
 
Posts: 14
Joined: Mon Dec 02, 2002 8:08 am

Postby Pax Vitae » Mon Jul 07, 2003 6:52 am

TTM wrote:The Christian God makes the most sense to me, when put into context. There is a lot of misunderstanding regarding the nature of the Christian God, as he is perhaps the most difficult to comprehend.

This is very true when you look at the God presented in the Old Testament compared to the New Testament. God is transformed from a vengeful god (see Numbers 31:1-19 for just one example) to the forgiving god (see Matthew 5:43-48 ). I agree this is very difficult to comprehend and reconcile the different attitude towards people out side his own flock. At first god is demanding:

Numbers wrote:31:1-3: And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, Avenge the children of Israel of the Midianites: afterward shalt thou be gathered unto thy people. And Moses spake unto the people, saying, Arm some of yourselves unto the war, and let them go against the Midianites, and avenge the LORD of Midian.

While then in the New Testament god has changed his mind about such things:

Gospel of Matthew wrote:5:43-44: Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

I believe one very simple explanation for this is that God, himself, is currently on the path to perfection, but has not yet reached a fully enlightened state. Of course you could say the Jesus dieing on the cross is the birth of God’s perfection. But I believe that this can also be disproved.


TTM wrote:Denying the existence of the other would do a lot of harm to the average person, in my opinion.


True, but a lot of people are still looking for a warrant to believe in this other world. As so far most of the arguments come from the stance of ignorance. At one time in humanity’s history God controlled the sky and stars, which signalled future events. Even Jesus was born under the sign of a ‘special’ star. If you go further back into the past before the Judeo-Christian god, there where God’s of rain, sun, moon, war, love, harvest, etc. Just look at the pantheon of Greek & Roman gods. I would even go as far as to say a lot of these attributes have transferred themselves in the catholic religion in the form of praying to Saints. St. Jude, patron saint of Hopeless cases; St Anthony, to find lost items; etc… (see this site for a fuller list: http://www.catholic-forum.com/saints/patron00.htm or http://www.catholic.org/saints/patron.php).

Science, at almost every turn has come up against religion. Galileo being one of the primary examples, he was one of the lucky ones not to be killed in the name of God during the inquisition. All because the Catholic Church didn’t want to accept the truth! They just couldn’t get over the fact that they weren’t the centre of the universe and that the earth revolved around the Sun. Almost everything that we don’t understand with attribute to God and his control. “God is the grand total of our ignorance.” Because as we learn to understand it, God loses his power of control over it, and I would even go as far as to say, this is also true for his control over humanity.

TTM wrote:I have not yet found anything that is against reason in any of the Catholic doctrines, and I find them solid and very reasonable, more positive and constructive than any other belief systems I've explored elsewhere.


The Two doctrines that I find most troubling about Catholicism are:

Infallibility of the Popes (ex cathedra): The first accepted use of infallibility didn’t occur till the 8th of December 1854 when Pope Pius IX defined the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary in Ineffabilis Deus. While the infallibility doctrine didn’t become official catholic teaching till after the First Vatican counsel (1869-70). Another point that is also quite unusual is its not apart of any of the catholic creeds. But the two most interesting things about it are: the apostle Peter even before or after the death of Jesus wasn’t Infallible, as Paul corrected him on issues concerned with the faith and morals. A look at the history of Popes it’s quite funny as there has been at least one heretic pope (Honorius) that misled his flock and was excommunicated by an Ecumenical Council as a heretic. And then there’s what Pope Adrian VI said in 1523:

Adrian VI wrote:If by Roman church you mean its head or pontiff, it is beyond question that he can err even in matters touching the faith. He does this when he teaches heresy by his own judgement or decretal. In truth, many Roman Pontiffs were heretics. The last of them was Pope John XXII [1316-1334].

This is an odd thing for a Pope to say?


Then there’s the doctrine of Original Sin, which all children are born with. So all unbaptised children that die in childbirth automatically go into limbo. As they are already dead so can’t be baptised into the faith, therefore must go to limbo for all eternity. (See the Catholic Catechism 1257 & 1261 for more info).


That should be enough for the moment...
User avatar
Pax Vitae
(Jonathan Wilson)
 
Posts: 1012
Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2002 12:44 pm

Postby Meno » Wed Aug 06, 2003 4:53 am

Faith is closely linked to our rational element. Just as the mind and heart work together. Faith indeed can be irrational, if it is not founded on some objective truth. If a person exercises faith it should be thought through carefully. Though I like Soren Kierkegaard, I can't accept his "leap of faith" idea. :D
Meno
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2003 4:44 am

Re: Is faith irrational or non-rational?

Postby Guest » Tue Aug 26, 2003 12:53 pm

Faith in oneself is useful and rational. Faith without logic and practicality is irrational.


smithigans wake wrote:The argument has been made that since logic, reason, observation etc. are the only tools with which humans can understand the world, then faith--a denial of these rational tools--is irrational and therefore fundamentally flawed.

On the other hand, it seems as though faith, being fundamentally different from all the normal things we like to call rational, logical etc cannot possibly be justified by those things. So it has been said that instead of being irrational, faith is in fact non-rational. Kierkegaard, I think, would say something like this.

I think that faith might not be something that can be discussed, with any profit, within the bounds of rational discourse. I've read CS Lewis on the one hand, and Bertrand Russell on the other, and neither, I feel, is very convincing in proving or disproving faith since it is not the sort of thing that can be proven or disproven by rational means.

I guess the ultimate question lies in whether or not we are justified in trusting the rational framework of our reality. Can we even comprehend anything without first subjecting it to our rational minds?
Guest
 

Postby Meno » Tue Aug 26, 2003 2:13 pm

A possible answer to Smith's ultimate question is to discover what is ultimate reality. Our rationality must have a real basis of support for it to be useful in an investigation into the rationality of faith. My persuasion is, if there is no basis for our rationality, then any investigation into whether faith is rational or irrational is futile. :o
Meno
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2003 4:44 am

Postby Magius » Tue Aug 26, 2003 5:57 pm

Meno, are you referring to Patrick Knowle Smith?
User avatar
Magius
Magnanimous
 
Posts: 1489
Joined: Fri Jun 07, 2002 7:08 am
Location: Ontario, Canada

Postby Meno » Tue Aug 26, 2003 7:11 pm

No Smithigans. :-?
Meno
 
Posts: 111
Joined: Wed Aug 06, 2003 4:44 am


Return to Religion and Spirituality



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users